An image of a person, silhouetted, in front of a building in bright sunshine.

HOW TO KNOW YOURSELF

Life is packed full. Tyre tracks in the sand, only to be rushed away with the tide. We run alongside the speeding truck of life, thinking that if only we can keep up, we will become who we’re meant to be. Yet, by the time many of us hit out middle age, we feel lost somehow, question who we are, who we ever were- and if we have the time left to be who we wish we were.

Much of self-development, and minimalism, is centred around the concept of knowing yourself. To know yourself well enough to know what is important to you, what is valuable in your life, and to even try to predict what will be valuable to you in future. Earlier and earlier in our lives, we are pushed to know who we are. How can we choose the right classes and qualifications, if we don’t know that? Our formative years have been turned into definitive segments- choices which we cannot return to, opportunities which we cannot recreate, choices which must be made in a split second of our entire existence.

What if we slowed things down? After all, to sit by the water on the sand and look at the sky is just as valuable as the nine dollars we make in an hour of work. Though we do require some of the vagaries of the everyday working life, I think we also forget to take the time to question our lives every now and again.

Too often, we think of ourselves in a character in the lives of others- how will they perceive us, how can we please them, how can we be seen to be more? We think that to take time out to understand ourselves might be selfish. But self-development isn’t selfish, in fact, taking the time to learn about ourselves can enable us to be more positively impactful in the lives of others.

We’re often content to avoid learning who we are, perhaps because we’re afraid that once we really look, we won’t like the person we see. It’s difficult to be honest with ourselves. The point, though, isn’t to become clinical and perfectionistic- it’s not to develop to the point of endless self-criticism. Instead, it’s to find a compromise, between who we are and who we need to be on a daily basis.

The world won’t stop spinning, and life won’t stop demanding things from you- but you can make the choice, to take time to understand yourself, to learn about yourself, and to develop elements of your life as you learn.

When did you last take the time to learn about yourself?

Featured image: Roel via Unsplash.

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